NTMir RIPS™ Rapid Information Pilot Studies™

NTM Info & Research’s Rapid Information Pilot Studies (RIPS)™ program funds short-term research in order to spur long-term investigative studies on issues of vital importance in the understanding, detection and treatment of pulmonary NTM disease. Each study is funded up to $50,000, and is completed in no more than 12 months. The results of these studies can then be used as a basis for funding of large scale, multi-centered investigations.

The objective of RIPS™ is to speed up the rate of investigations to provide new understandings of risk and treatment issues for pulmonary NTM patients.

  • Four RIPS™ studies have already been funded. Through our fundraising efforts we raise money to implement additional studies.
  • NTMir assists investigators by coordinating patient involvement if needed.
  • NTMir funding of $50,000 or more per study supports RIPS™ design, data collection and evaluation.
  • NTMir utilizes the information from the studies to urge Congress to fund projects related to pulmonary NTM disease.
  • Investigator-designed projects are completed within 12 months.
  • Results are presented to federal agencies for consideration of large scale studies.


Studies Funded and Completed

RIPS™ Studies Funded and Completed

Home Water Sample/Sputum Comparison Study (2008)

Dr. Joseph Falkinham, III

Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia

NTMir awarded a Rapid Information Pilot Study (RIPS)™ grant to Dr. Joseph Falkinham, III, at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia to study household water systems as a source of pulmonary NTM infection. Dr. Falkinham compared the NTM bacteria found in patients' lungs with the NTM bacteria in each patient's home to determine if they are the same strain.

The results of this study provided important information regarding the risk factors associated with household water and NTM lung infection. In 75% of tested patients, the household water was determined to be the infection source. Additionally, the study demonstrated the correlation between water heater temperature and amount of NTM in the water, leading to the conclusion that higher water temperatures reduce the amount of NTM found in the tap water.


Epidemiological Study (2008-2009)

National Institute of Allergy and Infection Disease (NIH)
Kaiser Permanente of Southern California
Click here to view published study results

NTMir awarded a RIPS™ grant jointly to National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) and Kaiser Permanente of Southern California (Kaiser), a private healthcare provider, to study the prevalence, prevalence trends, and co-morbidities of pulmonary NTM disease. This study evaluated the prevalence of NTM within a closed healthcare system, and represented a unique partnership between a federal government agency (NIAID), a private healthcare system (Kaiser), and a disease-centered not-for-profit organization (NTMir).

The study demonstrated the increasing prevalence of pulmonary NTM disease, and led NIAID to expand the study. The results were published in a leading medical journal.


The Complete Genome Sequence of M. avium intracellulare (2008)

Dr. Marcel Behr

McGill University
Montreal, Canada

NTMir awarded its first international RIPS™ grant to Dr. Marcel Behr at Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center in Montreal, Quebec. Dr. Behr completed the genome sequencing of M. avium intracellulare, which may help physicians and researchers determine better treatments for NTM lung infection.

The results of this project are now published on the Internet and available to researchers around the world. Since its publication, researchers in Korea have continued the genotyping of other strains of NTM, which similarly may aid in determining better and more targeted treatments, and may lead to a better understanding of how pulmonary NTM infection may differ from host to host, depending on the specific strain.


Development of Quality-of-Life Survey

Dr. Alexandra Quittner

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Miami, Florida

Dr. Quittner conducted open-ended interviews with pulmonary NTM patients to determine what content should be queried and analyzed in a patient quality-of-life survey. Until now, no disease-specific health-related quality of life measures have been available for pulmonary NTM patients.

This study developed a module for patients with NTM which complements the quality-of-life survey currently used for patients with Bronchiectasis. This new measure, developed in accordance with FDA guidelines, may be used in clinical trials to determine the effects of the drug being studied on the patient, and allows health care providers to monitor their patients' health status and functioning over time.